Costa Rica may appear small on the world map but reigns large in diversity: i.e Wild life with conservation, unique regions from cloud forests, volcanos to beaches; from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea. This Central American Jewel is worth a visit. While it is inviting-do not spend your entire vacation on the beach. There is much more to see & experience in Costa Rica.
Many first time travelers to Australia start their vacation in Sydney, New South Wales.
One can easily spend a week in & around Sydney Australia & still not see & do it all.
Sydney is home to the famous Bondi Beach 30 minutes from city center. Walk Sydney's famous Bondi to Coogee coastal trail 3.7 miles beach walk past Aboriginal rock craving & more beach. Every October this walk hosts the “Sculpture by the Sea” a free exhibition featuring artist from around the world.
Take in the Taronga Zoo for an afternoon which houses over 4000 exotic & native species. Try the rope challenge that offers a different view of the zoo. For the ultimate zoo experience, book the Roar & Snore i.e. a sleepover at the Taronga Zoo in a luxury tent.
You will not want to miss the infamous Sydney Harbor Bridge Climb. From the top you will witness an awe inspiring view of the city & harbor. Take a tour of the Sydney Opera House in the middle of Sydney Harbor. Take in a performance. You will never forget it.
Go camping for a night on Cockatoo Island in the middle of the Sydney Harbor or purchase a gampling package. Either way, you wake up to a gorgeous view. Take the ½ hour ferry to Manly & enjoy a day of surf beaches, water sports, & a chic laid back atmosphere.
Just 2 hours from Sydney are the Blue Mountains & the Blue Mountains National Park which is famous for the 3 sister rock formations + 2.5 million acres of with forests, bush land, sand stone cliffs & waterfalls. Excellent hiking & mountain biking opportunities abound. Scenic World in Katoomba, the largest of several villages on the way up the Blue Mountains, has a cable car, a walkway over the rainforest canopy and a glass bottom skyway.
Let me make this your reality!
Time Travels Inc. is now an official Aussie specialist.
Certified through Corroboree West 2017 in October, Time Travels inc along with 300 Travel agents from around the world met with Australian Travel Suppliers; large & small, on the amazing Gold Cost of Australia.
I met 135 suppliers in 3 days who educated me about Australian Tourism. This was work for a few days but oh how wined & dined we were!
Follow us as I continue to share our walkabout acorss the country.
(Information from CruiseCritic.com)
"Large" yachts are those that accommodate between 140 and 400 passengers, and feel more like small-scale cruise ships than pumped-up private yachts. These capacities are ideal for travelers who want an intimate experience but prefer sailing with more than a few dozen other people. These ships are also a good bet if you don't like feeling the movement of the ocean; because they are larger, the ride is usually a bit smoother than small yacht options.
There are some nice perks when you sail a large yacht. First of all, you'll have more choice when it comes to cabins. Some cabins on large yachts will have balconies with sweeping ocean views, while none of the ships in the "Small Yacht" category offer accommodations with verandas. Most of the ships in this category also offer a variety of suites that give you more square footage, space to dine in your cabin and outdoor furniture to enjoy on your veranda. Ships from Silversea offer butler service with every stateroom, which equates to an ultra-luxurious experience for all.
These larger ships offer more dining venues onboard. Silversea ships in this category, for example, offer three fine dining options -- The Restaurant main dining room, La Terrazza for authentic Italian flair, and specialty restaurant Le Champagne, featuring French cuisine -- in addition to the on-deck Pool Bar & Grill. Many lines -- including Windstar, Silversea and Paul Gauguin -- also stage elaborate BBQs on deck or on a beautiful stretch of beach.
The public areas of the ship offer more variety on a large yacht as well. You can expect amenities that could include at least two bars and even a standalone cigar lounge; a spa, beauty salon and full-fledged fitness center; a small theater; a casino; a library and internet/card room; and maybe even a small boutique selling clothing, jewelry and sundries.
Finally, these large yachts can visit some additional destinations that the small yachts can't visit safely (due to their size) but larger ships might be too big to access. Look for itineraries to the Arctic and Antarctica -- destinations that require larger ships with certain navigational equipment and strengthened hulls for sailing in areas where ice is prevalent. Large yachts also offer some compelling South Pacific itineraries.
For more information on large & small yacht cruising worldwide, give us a call.
(Information from CruiseCritic.com)
The "small yacht" category includes ships that accommodate no more than 110 passengers. Here you'll find yachts that range in length from 120 to 360 feet, brought to you by Un-Cruise Adventures, Crystal Cruises and SeaDream Yacht Club. Compare that to Quantum of the Seas' length of 1,139 feet, and you see how much smaller and more intimate these yachts can be. Ponant's entry to this category is Le Ponant, a three-masted motor-yacht; a pair of windjammers from SeaCloud Cruises round out the list. You won't enjoy a voyage aboard a yacht in this category unless you love traveling with a very small group of people. If you wish to hobnob with a different group of people each night, look to a larger ship.
Small-ship cruising in general is all about the destination, and that's even more the case aboard small yachts. These downright tiny vessels can anchor in hidden-away bays and harbors, and can visit some truly off-the-grid destinations, such as Alaska's Kuiu Island or Curieuse in the Seychelles. Plus, small yachts put a premium on getting passengers close to amazing sites. For example, take Alaska's Inside Passage; while mainstream cruise ships sail past Dawes Glacier in Endicott Arm, yacht passengers don marine survival suits, board skiffs and get within feet of sweet seals sitting prettily atop icebergs floating in the strait.
Most port visits focus on the natural habitat or local culture of the destination, and many of these cruise lines hire well-educated naturalists and historians to interact with passengers each day, offering onboard lectures and leading shore excursions (which are included in the cruise fare in the case of Un-Cruise Adventures' trips). These experts are on hand to answer questions and provide a level of education about the region that makes the trip special.
One of the most appealing aspects of small yachts are their watersports platforms, which enable passengers to get right into the water rather than simply gazing at it from 10 decks up. All of the ships in this category, with the exception of SeaCloud’s windjammers, have them. From the platform, you can go swimming or snorkeling right from the ship, or borrow a personal watercraft such as a kayak or canoe. SeaDream also has several JetSkis for passenger use. While some larger yachts and ships have similar onboard marinas, it's a different experience when you're sharing the facilities with so few people. It feels as if the yacht is yours alone, and you're simply enjoying the water with a handful of friends.
The onboard experience is also more like that of sailing on a private yacht. You'll get to know your fellow passengers -- who tend to be well off and well traveled -- and the crew will cater to your every need, quickly learning not just your name but your likes and your dislikes. The chef will incorporate locally sourced ingredients -- salmon in Alaska, pineapple in Hawaii -- at mealtime and can customize the menu to a certain degree for your personal tastes. On the flip side, choice will be limited to one dining venue (with breakfast and possibly lunch served as a buffet only) and a limited selection of dinner entrees (typically a meat, fish and vegetarian option). Though seating is open, mealtimes are set, but can change based on what's going on outside. For example, if there are whale sightings in Alaska, dinner could be delayed in order to allow everyone to get on deck and have a look.
Because the itinerary is so paramount on small yachts, daytime activities are pretty nonexistent. Passengers generally need to entertain themselves. While the sun decks are nice on all of these ships, only Crystal Esprit and SeaDream I and II have pools; the other ships only have on-deck hot tubs. The spa (if any) usually consists of one or two small treatment rooms. Some yachts do have a few fun high-tech toys -- like the submarine aboard Crystal Esprit or the golf simulator on SeaDream yachts. There are no theaters on these ships and the "casino" -- when there is one -- is often just one game table with a slot machine located in a nearby corner.
Call us for more information on these luxury ships,
In 1922, upscale clientele boarded Cunard Line’s Laconia for the first cruise ship itinerary to circle the globe. Today almost 100 year later cruise passengers have many luxury small ship cruise options from long to short voyages.
Passengers can choose a pampering yacht experience or opt for a vacation on a midsize ship. There are adventurous expeditions to remote destinations or simply upgrade to a suite on a range of cruise lines. If you prefer mega ships you can choose the exclusive” ship with in the ship” area of these vessels. With upgrades so go the benefits.
Boutique cruising is becoming so attractive to the luxury cruiser that even the Ritz Carlton Hotel Company is launching its own brand in 2019 the Ritz- Carlton Yacht Collection with three, 298 passenger, all suite, all-balcony luxury yachts.
An advantage of the smaller upscale ships is the ability to be more all-inclusive & because of their size there can experience smaller ports & destinations that the big boats cannot.
Croatia, a country with a long coastline with over thousand islands, attract visitors from all over the world. Time Travels inc. is offering itineraries for this summer or fall until May 31st. Choose from a selection of three luxry, small ships and enjoy an itinerary such as this:
Day 1, arrive Dubrovnik, Saturday You will be transferred from Dubrovnik’s airport or your Dubrovnik hotel to Gruz Harbor, where embarkation begins at noon. Meet your fellow travelers and your Cruise Manager later at an on-board Welcome reception. This evening, you can relax or take a walk through Dubrovnik’s vibrant streets.
Day 2, Dubrovnik – Mljet – Korcula, Sunday Start the day with a walking tour of Dubrovnik, the “Pearl of Adriatic” and a UNESCO World Heritage site. You’ll visit the Rector’s Palace and Franciscan Monastery’s Pharmacy before returning to the boat for lunch. As you dine, set sail for Mljet Island. Mljet National Park features five types of forest, many species of birds, and two deep lakes, Veliko Jezero (Big Lake) and Malo Jezero (Small Lake). After time to enjoy the spectacular scenery, continue cruising to Korcula, believed to be the birthplace of the explorer Marco Polo. Dinner tonight is on board.
Day 3, Korcula – Hvar, Monday This morning, a walking tour of Korcula town takes you through its narrow, cobbled streets and includes a visit to the majestic Gothic-Baroque Cathedral of St. Mark. Board your boat for lunch and a swimming stop as you cruise. Late this afternoon, arrive in Hvar. On a sightseeing tour, see the first public theatre in Europe (older than Shakespeare’s theatre in the UK), the Franciscan Monastery and much more. Your evening is free in Hvar. You can explore more and dine on your own at one of the many restaurants in town.
Day 4, Hvar – Bol – Split, Tuesday Sail to Bol, home to one of the best beaches in Croatia, the Golden Horn. This vast, golden pebble beach is unique in that it changes shape and position depending on the winds. Over lunch on board, continue sailing to Split. Here, a walking tour shows off the historic inner city, built around the Roman Emperor Diocletian’s Palace, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. See the remnants of Split’s Roman heritage, its Renaissance and Gothic structures, Jupiter’s Temple, the Peristyle, and the Cathedral. Your evening is free in Split.
Day 5, Split – Trogir – Sibenik, Wednesday In the morning sail to the UNESCO-listed city of Trogir. Your time here is free to explore on your own. Back on board, enjoy lunch as you cruise to Sibenik, with stop on the way for a swim. Arriving in Sibenik, a walking tour shows you the highlights of the city, then your evening is at leisure.
Day 6, Sibenik – Sali, Thursday The Sibenik area is home to two National Parks: Krka, with its breathtaking waterfalls, and Kornati, comprised of more than 140 islands. Your day is devoted to these scenic destinations before you sail to Sali. Tonight, enjoy captain’s dinner with live entertainment on board.
Day 7, Sali – Zadar, Friday As you cruise this morning, stop for a swim (weather permitting). Late this afternoon, arrive in Zadar. A walking tour shows you Zadar’s historical center with the defensive walls built in 16th century, the ancient Port Gate where the Venetian lion still stands guard, the Square of the Five Wells, Church of St. Donat, Roman Forum (1st century BC) and the largest cathedral in Dalmatia, St. Anastasia. Your evening is free in the city.
Day 8, depart Zadar, Saturday Disembark after breakfast, bidding your boat and crew farewell. You will be transferred to Zadar or Split airport for your flight home. You might want to join a post-cruise trip to Italy.
I had the opportunity to visit Ireland this past week via Brendan Tours and it was grand. This was my first escorted deluxe tour and I really enjoyed myself. No stress, great service, deluxe accommodations plus unique local experiences that Brendan Vacations offers. Every guide was educational & entertaining. I couldn't have been more comfortable in the new Volvo coach. I saw much of southern Ireland while being wined & dined. If you want to immerse yourself in a destination, having a tour director is truly an asset. Learning about Ireland without having your face in a tour book is refreshing.
One highlight of this trip was hiking the cliffs of Mohr & then driving to Dromoland Castle for the last night. (I would suggest 2 NTS here) I did the Falconry experience on the grounds of Dromoland Castle, with the leather glove & the falcon perched or flying. This hunting technique of kings may go back 15,000 years.
The Emerald Isle lives up to its name; rolling green hills, ruined castles, stone terraces, quaint towns & a very lively Dublin.
Ireland can be seen by car i.e. self- drive or chauffeured, rail and or escorted tours. You can reside in B & B's, Hotels, Manor Houses & Castles. Whatever your style, I will match the itinerary & style to your Irish dream.
Just returned from a week in Cabo San Lucas & a stay at Breathless AI Resort. If you are a desert person or boat lover then this is your beach destination.
The confluence of the Sea of Cortez & the Pacific ocean produce clear, cool blue water that teams with whales, sea lions & other sea life. ( Whale watching is from Dec – March)
I personally enjoy more humidity but the perpetual sunshine & great stretches of beach are appealing.
My sister & I wined & dined at Breathless AI Resort which is adjacent to the Cabo San Lucas Harbor & right in the center of town. Watching boats & yachts ply the harbor from the infinity pool or our 5th floor balcony was amusing. While not a large all-inclusive resort Breathless Resort did offer several excellent dining options & both Shannon & I agreed that the food was 5 Star.
One highlight of this Cabo trip was our boat excursion on the Edith 4, a boat owned by locals. They took us out on the water for a few hours at a fair price. We saw whales, the lovely coast line & Pancho the celebrity Sea Lion who hangs in & around the harbor because eating is good. He jumped on the back of our boat for a minutes to see if snacks were available.
If you need more culture than stay close to or at least visit San Jose del Cabo, a mission town established in the 1730. The town square, cobblestone streets, art galleries & unique dining options make for a slower paces then her sister Cabo San Lucas which is 20 miles away & a party town.
The Barceló Puerto Vallarta is the perfect all-inclusive resort for your destination wedding or family vacation i.e. active yet with enough quiet places to relax. The food & drinks are great & the service is excellent. For wedding couples who wish to feel special, the Barceló Puerto Vallarta only allows one wedding per day & has a prefect beach area for it. This resort has been awarded the AAA 4 Diamond award since 2008.
A 15 minute drive south of Puerto Vallarta on Mismaloya Bay, where the mountains meet the sea, the Barceló Puerto Vallarta & its secluded location will not disappoint. It is this beach area that put Puerto Vallarta on the map with the 1964 filming of The Night of the Iguana starring Eva Gardner & Richard Burton with glamorous wife Elizabeth Taylor in tow. 20 years later, Predator was also filmed close by.
Having spent Christmas 2016 here with my husband & our two teenagers on the 8th floor club level in a 2 bedroom suite, we were charmed. The 317 all suite Barcelo Puerto Vallarta is the prefect size resort. The large 2 bedroom suites are great for families. My recommendation is to splurge on the Club level suite. You reside on higher floors with amazing ocean & mountain views + access to the club lounge which offers special appetizers & higher end liquor. If you are not a tequila lover you will be after sampling the top shelf tequila in the club lounge.
The resort is built up 9 floors not spread out like many of the mega all-inclusive resorts. If you always take the steps as I did, your workout is done. Next to the resort is the small village of Mismaloya which is also fun to walk about.
For great ideas on family vacations & destination weddings, give me a call.